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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

348                                      ETYMOLOGY OF LOCAL NAMES*
obiter dictum, and I strongly doubt whether in the whole range of early San-
skrit literature the capital of Braj is ever designated Madhtmi. In the particular
passage which lie quotes, Lassen regards the word as the name- of a river,
and that the well-known city in the Dakhin is in the vernacular always spelt
Madlmra in no way affects the argument; for even if the two names are ety-
mologically identical, which is probable but not certain, the dislike shown by
all the languages of the south to the use of hard consonants is quite sufficient
to account for the alteration.
Similarly the name of the country, Braj, or Yraja, has nothing to do
with the Yajra Sena, the son of Anirudh, who is said to have been crowned
king of Mathuri on Krishna's death ; but comes Immediately from the root
vrafj£ to go,' and is thus a highly appropriate designation for a land of nomadic
herdsmen. Equally at fault is the mythological derivation of' Bathen,' the
name of two large villages in the Kosi pargana, where Balanuua, it is said, ( sat
down* (bait/ten) to wait for Krishna. Here, again, the real reference is to the
pastoral character of the country, lathan being an archaic terra to denote a graz-
ing-gronnd. A still greater and more unnecessary perversion of etymological
principles is afforded by the treatment of the word Khaira. This is popularly
derived from the root Miedna,6 to drive cattle/ which was Krishna's special occu-
pation as a boy : but it is in fact the regular contraction of the Sanskrit kha-
dira, tlie Acacia Arabics,, more commonly known as the lalt'd; as is proved by
the contiguity of the village to the £7iadirarbanf one of the twelve sacred groves.
Other indigenous trees have contributed in like manner to the local nomencla-
ture | thus the lodhra, or Symplocos, would seeni to have furnished a name for
the village of LoM in the Mat pargana : the Tindnk Gh&t at Mathura is pro-
bably so called not in honour of any pious ascetic, but with reference to the
pasendiiy or Diospyros, the Sanskrit tinduka^ one of the most common trees in
the district: and in the Sakra-baii, which gives its name to the village of Saka-
raya3 it-would seem that the safara intended is the tree, the Terminalia Arjuna,
and not the god Indra, though he too is known by that title, which primarily
means the strong or powerful.
The most interesting example of an elaborate myth based solely on the
misunderstanding of a local name is to be found in the village of Bandi. Here
is a very popular shrine, sacred to Bandi Anandi, who are said to have been two
servants of Jasoda's^ whose special employment It was to collect the sweepings
of ihe cow-shed and make them up into fuel. But in the inscription over the
gateway leading into the court-yard of the temple^ which is dated Sam&at